Chocolate Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes
“It’s definitely a challenge to do something different,” Marion resident Josette Schaber says of her Chocolate Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes. “A lot of entries tend to be snack mixes.” Originally from Columbus, Schaber’s family moved to the area when she was 11 years old, and she has attended the popcorn festival every year since. A recipe a friend’s mother liked to use inspired Schaber’s 2016 popcorn-cooking contest entry. Although, like most of her baking projects, she added some of her own ingredients, as well as popcorn, to make the creation her own. “I’ll think, this sounds good, but then realize I don’t have all the ingredients,” Schaber says. “So, I’ll just mix things up on my own.”
Chocolate Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes | Makes 12
4 tablespoons boiling water
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup self-rising white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder, rounded
2 cups salted popcorn or 1 bag of microwave popcorn, popped
1/2 jar of marshmallow fluff
1 cup milk chocolate melting chocolate
1 cup mini M&M’s
12 Kraft caramels
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line muffin pan with baking cups. Sift cocoa powder into a bowl, pour in the boiling water and mix into a thick paste. In separate bowl, combine sugar and butter, then eggs and add to cocoa mixture. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix with electric hand whisk (or beat with a wooden spoon). Divide the mixture equally between the 12 baking cups. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until well risen and springy to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.
Melt the 1 cup of chocolate for topping in a double boiler until very runny. Put popcorn into large bowl and pour the melted chocolate over top. Mix gently until popcorn is covered, then stir in the mini M&M’s.
Spread a heaping tablespoon of marshmallow fluff over each cupcake. Using a spoon, heap two tablespoons of popcorn on top of each. Lightly press together with your hands and leave in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until set.
Place caramels in double boiler. Add milk and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook until caramels are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently. Remove cupcakes from refrigerator and drizzle each with the melted caramel.